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An attack carefully planned

The killing of 15 policemen on Sunday in an ambush by Maoists in Gadchiroli displayed planning and efficiency not seen before in the state, reports Stavan Desai.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2009 01:48 IST
Stavan Desai

The killing of 15 policemen on Sunday in an ambush by Maoists in Gadchiroli displayed planning and efficiency not seen before in the state.

Sources in the security agencies involved in post-attack investigations said the Naxalites, after resorting to arson at a village called Markegaon on Friday, used a local informer to tip-off the police about it.

The intention was to make a police party come to the village to investigate the incident, said the sources, who requested anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the press.

To make sure their presence and movements were not leaked, the Naxalites held villagers hostage, investigations have revealed.

The police were on Monday questioning the villagers about the identity of the Naxalite cadres involved in the attack.

“They laid a trap for the police and were intercepting all wireless communication through an FM transistor-receiver,” said a senior investigator. The investigator said by listening in, the Naxalites were able to determine the movements of the police party.

“When they (the police party) stopped on the way, locals relayed information about their strength and the weapons they were carrying,” the investigator said.

After the attack, the Naxalites fled with the eight self-loading and INSAS rifles, six AK-47 rifles and one two-inch mortar launcher carried by the police party.

Investigations revealed that the Naxalite cadres, after cornering the policemen who arrived at the arson spot, engaged them in a firefight till they ran out of ammunition and then attacked them with sharp-edged weapons, cutting off their limbs.

“Bodies were found scattered at the spot, which leads us to believe the police were attacked with sharp weapons after an exchange of fire,” said another investigator.